This past Saturday, synagogues throughout Israel were scheduled to celebrate Simchat Torah and begin the reading of the Torah cycle with Parshat Beresheet.
The irony of reading Beresheet, the story of creation, which is essentially G-d creating order out of chaos, was not lost on me. This past Saturday, our seemingly orderly world became chaotic. Our world was turned upside down. For Israelis and Jews around the world, their lives and our lives may never be the same. It is sad and upsetting and maddening and infuriating and confusing all at the same time.
How can we make order out of this chaos? I think our Middat HaShavuah says it best: Be a source of calm. God brought order to chaos by being a source of calm.
וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃
“God’s rushing-spirit soared over the waters.”
What does it mean “to be a source of calm”? Being a source of calm means to be helpful. It means to be kind. It means to be compassionate. It means to be understanding. It means to be mindful of others. Each and every one of us can be a source of calmness through our deeds and actions.
We too can bring order to the chaos we are currently experiencing by being a source of calm, first within our families, and then in our classrooms, and finally in our communities. We can even be a source of calm to the people of Israel. We can write letters to soldiers, send money and supplies, send the people of Israel love through our community gatherings of support and through our prayers! Israel needs our love and support now more than ever. By being a source of calm, we will bring order to the chaos we experienced this week. If we all do our part we will bring peace and calmness to those around us, to the Jewish people, and the people of Israel!